Morning Reads

Good morning! It’s April Fool’s Day — try not to get too crazy out there.

Saber-rattling –> Russian military drills 150 miles east of Finland are making the Finns nervous, report Alexander Smith, Alastair Jamieson and Albina Kovalyova for NBC News. On the other hand, The New York Times writes, “…the German government released a statement saying [Vladimir] Putin told Chancellor Angela Merkel in a telephone call that he had ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s eastern border, a source of great tension with Western governments in recent weeks.”

Cheats –> At The Atlantic, Matthew O’Brien looks at the trillions of dollars US multinationals have stashed overseas, and says that another repatriation tax holiday won’t bring them back to our shores. RELATED: A report by Sen. Carl Levin found that the equipment giant Caterpillar “used complicated corporate maneuvers to avoid $2.4 billion in U.S. taxes by parking profits in a unit in Switzerland.”

Torture didn’t help find Bin Laden –> So concludes that controversial Senate report on the CIA’s Bush-era War on Terror programs, according to the AP. Another Cheney talking point bites the dust.

Kleptocracy –> In Arizona, lobbyists approved nearly $1 million in funding for a private prison company that lobbyists pushed for but state prison officials said they didn’t need. Craig Harris and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez report for The Arizona Republic.

Reverse revolving door –> A former Motorola saleswoman in charge of a “government agency overseeing funding for emergency communication projects in the San Francisco Bay Area” relied on “significant misrepresentations” to hand her old employer a $50 million contract with little competition, according to McClatchy’s Greg Gordon and Lydia Mulvany.

Deeply held principles? –> Molly Redden reports for MoJo that Hobby Lobby’s retirement fund is invested in contraception manufacturers.

Is the tide turning? –> Dean Baker writes in The Guardian that the ACA is giving people the security to leave their jobs, and says that may have a positive impact on stagnant wages. This may have something to do with support for the law exceeding opposition in the WaPo/ABC News poll for the first time since 2009.

Pot won’t save Dems –> At AlterNet, Steven Rosenfeld says that while having marijuana legalization on a ballot does increase turnout, it won’t be an issue in enough states to make much difference in this year’s midterms.

Environmentalism pays –> California utility customers will receive credits representing their share of the money raised by the state’s cap-and-trade system. David Baker reports for The San Francisco Chronicle.

Call it North Carolina, West –> James Oliphant with an interesting #LongRead in National Journal about how the far-right took over Arizona’s government.

Chilling dissent –> Charles Davis reports for Vice on a fruitless but intimidating two-year FBI investigation of nonviolent political activists in the Midwest.

Why are we paying their workers? –> At The Nation, Michelle Chen argues that the $2.13 federal minimum wage for tipped workers is a huge ripoff for both workers and restaurant patrons.

Millennial “wealth-gap” –> “For households headed by someone 40 years old or younger, wealth adjusted for inflation remains 30 percent below 2007 levels on average,” reports Jeanna Smialek for Bloomberg.

Reprieve — We told you last week about the Mississippi woman who was scheduled to be executed for a murder to which her son had confessed. Fortunately, the state’s Supreme Court ordered a new trial, reports Arturo Garcia at The Raw Story.

Corporate-Americans tussle over beliefs –> OKCupid has blocked Firefox browsers from accessing its site after Firefox manufacturer Mozilla appointed a new CEO who had been a vocal supporter of California’s anti-gay Prop 8. Sam Biddle has the story for ValleyWag.

“The brighter side of spite” –> Evolutionary researchers are looking at how spite may have played a role “in the origin of admirable traits like a cooperative spirit and a sense of fair play.” Natalie Angier reports for the NYT.

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